“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
“I hate to lose more than I love to win.”
Pain is a powerful motivator.
Everyone is partial to negative information. Like stories, pain and negativity engage an extraordinary portion of the brain. This is due a psychological phenomenon called negativity bias. In your brain, there are two different systems for negative and positive stimuli. The left hemisphere, which is known for articulate language, is specialized for positive experiences. This hemisphere helps you increase your happiness and improve your self-esteem by retaining positivity. The right hemisphere, which is classically known for creative expression, focuses on negative experiences. This hemisphere locks onto pain. Additionally, the amygdala, or fear response center of your brain, uses two-thirds of its neurons searching for negativity. Once your amygdala finds negative information, it immediately transfers this information into your long-term memory. By contrast, positive experiences have to be held in awareness for more than twelve seconds in order for your brain to transfer it from your short-term to long-term memory banks. This is why most people instantly forget praises but can remember a single criticism for years.
It’s not pain if you enjoy it. The average person spends his entire life running from pain. This person worries about dealing with negative people, negative emotions, and negative circumstances. Subconsciously, he believes that worrying will somehow prevent or delay pain. He believes that worrying will help him solve his problems. Understand: worry is not an action. No problem was ever solved simply by worrying about it. Resolving pain requires action. Action fixes everything. The trouble is that most people act to solve their problems begrudgingly. They resent the fact that they have to take action. They act as if they were entitled to a pain-free existence. The truth is pain cannot be avoided. And this is a good thing. Without pain, there would be no growth. Growth requires resistance. How many superstars credit their success to people who told them they couldn’t succeed? Pain’s power to help people grow and reach their goals is proverbial. Pain can help you increase your happiness, generate influence, and boost self-confidence The key is to find the right kind of pain.
Problems Are Gifts
Adversity exposes opportunity. Instead of asking how to avoid pain, start asking how to enjoy life and increase your happiness while battling through pain. If your brain is hardwired to find pain, stop fighting it. Go with it. Use it. Use pain to identify opportunities for growth. Seek out things that make you feel intimidated and insecure. Collect negativity. Soak up negative information and spit out productive action. Build a repetiore of painful experiences that you can call on for motivation when you feel like compromising on your purpose in life. Pain, once harnessed, spurs progress. This doesn’t mean that you start creating problems for no reason. It means you stop fearing problems. It means you start seeing the value of problems. Keep past painful experiences far enough away to not affect your daily thinking, but close enough to call on when you need inspiration. In this way, you can control negative experiences rather than being controlled by them.
Vulnerability is an advantage. Your pain in life is proportional to how much you put yourself out there. The further you break away from the herd, the more pain you will experience. The higher you climb, the more you will hurt. This is because you are exposed. You are vulnerable. But it’s this vulnerability that allows you to learn. Last year, I launched a project called Bringcard. Some friends and I used to get together once a year for reunion called Bringfest. As part of the fun, we would call each other names like Bring Kong, Marilyn Bringroe, and Bringo Starr. I thought it would be cool to create characters for these names and put them on postcards. A couple of people were not happy about me doing this. They felt I should have asked permission to create the cards and involved them in the process. One of these people went as far as to create a fake Bringcard Twitter account, using my Trademarked logo and slogan. He then invited other people to follow the account and encouraged them to mock me and the project by writing spiteful comments.
Pain Creates Possibilities
Striving for success is not all shits and giggles. When I first found this fake Twitter account, I freaked. I panicked. I thought the people who were buying my cards would see the account and ask for their money back, tell other people not to buy from me, and, in general, hate me. I felt like a failure, like everyone was against me, like I had wasted 6 months on a project that would ruin me. I was also pissed off. I wanted to reach through the computer screen and stop people from posting on the account. I wanted to show them that I was right and they were wrong. Eventually, I cooled. After two days of applying the counterbalance strategy, I started to see things differently. First, I created a real Bringcard Twitter account. Then, I wrote an email to the Twitter administrators requesting that the fake account be removed due to Trademark infringement. Finally, I threw myself further and further into the Bringcard project. I researched who was buying and who wasn’t, as well as why these people were or were not buying. It turned out that my customers were more interested in purchasing fold-open greeting cards that they could write personal messages in, as opposed to postcards with little or no room to write. My research also showed that people were more likely to buy Bringcards if they came in packs of 10 with matching envelopes. By the end of the week, I completely revamped and relaunched the project. I sold twice as many Bringcards in the second month as I did during the first month. This would not have happened without negativity. Pain made it possible.
People coming against you is often a sign that you’re headed in the right direction. When your circumstances start to tighten, push back in every direction. Start leaning into negative situations. Enjoy the fact that you are learning, that you are standing for something, that you are making a difference. Your actions are creating a stir, and nothing changes without stirring. I’ve been writing this blog for almost two years and continue to build strong relationships with fans and friends because of it. I often wake up to find inspiring messages sent to me from readers that enjoy my articles. They engage and share ideas on how to increase happiness, influence motivation, and boost vitality. But for every 10 positive messages I receive, I get at least one negative message. Here’s my favorite so far:
Enjoy The Pain
Action turns negativity into initiative. No matter what mountain you are trying climb, achieving your goal will generate friction. The above message was sent anonymously, apparently from someone I haven’t seen since college (almost 10 years ago). The night I got this email, I wrote three articles, launched a new marketing campaign, and created the Wall on my blog. Whenever I feel like watching TV or lounging instead of working, I look at this email. I owe the person who sent it a steak dinner for all the motivation it brings me. Pain is part of the journey, but it doesn’t have to hurt. Manage your perspective so that you start getting excited by negative information. Get turned on by adversity. After all, easiness is a sign of emptiness. Pain indicates value. With this mindset, nothing will be able to distract you from achieving your goal and fulfilling your purpose in life. In my next post, I will discuss how to deflect pessimism and misdirect people who oppose your purpose of living.